A woman who says she was seriously injured during a stage-diving incident
at a Philadelphia concert venue four years ago has been awarded more than a million dollars in compensatory and punitive damages by a federal judge.
Kimberly Myers, who says her skull was cracked on Feb. 23, 2010, while she was attending a musical performance of the band Fishbone at Philadelphia’s World Café Live venue, received a judgment of $1,117,145.93 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages.
The judgment was against Angelo Moore, Fishbone’s leader singer who dove into the crowd that day, and fellow band member John Norwood Fisher.
Myers filed suit in 2010 against Moore, Fisher, who is the band’s bassist, Fishbone, Silverback Artist Management, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania, Behind Closed Doors Touring, Hajoca Associates, and Real Entertainment – Philadelphia Inc.
She alleged claims of negligence relating to the defendants’ failure to warn the audience that the concert would feature stage diving.
The plaintiff also asserted claims of civil conspiracy against all defendants and assault and battery against Moore, Fisher, Fishbone and Behind Closed Doors Touring, records show.
The plaintiff subsequently reached settlements with Silverback, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania and Real Entertainment, according to court records.
The court, at the plaintiff’s request, then dismissed claims against the non-settling defendants without prejudice.
On Feb. 3, 2012, Myers brought a separate case against Moore, Fisher, Fishbone, The Agency Group and Behind Closed Doors Touring for negligence, civil conspiracy, and assault and battery.
Moore and Fisher failed to respond to the complaint, leading to a default judgment, records show.
Although the band also failed to respond to the complaint, Myers had not sought a default or a default judgment against the group as a whole.
Moore and Fisher never appeared at a hearing to assess damages that took place this past spring, records show.
Myers, 46, who resides in Voorhees, N.J., and who worked as the director of operations and business development at Comprehensive Clinical Research, which conducts pharmaceutical clinical trials, says that she sustained a fractured skull, a concussion, a broken clavicle, a perforated eardrum, hearing loss, autoimmune problems, lacerations, headaches and other physical injuries and mental impairments as a result of being struck by Moore when he dove off the stage and into the crowd during the concert four years ago.
She also says accompanying cognitive difficulties hindered her “productivity and confidence” in the workplace, and affected her ability to care for her three teenage children.
Myers claimed that none of the defendants apologized to her following the incident, and that the band continued its performance “as if nothing happened,” despite the fact that Myers was taken from the scene by ambulance.
The plaintiff’s complaint stated that Neil Sulkes, the general manager of World Café Live, told the Philadelphia Daily News that no performers had ever previously stage-dove at the concert venue, and that he had no advance notice that Moore would be diving from the stage during the Fishbone show.
Records show that when he was deposed in early February 2008, Moore, the lead singer, invoiced his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
“The Court infers from Moore’s invocation of the Fifth Amendment that his testimony would have been unfavorable to his interests,” U.S. District Judge Jan DuBois wrote in his Feb. 12 memorandum.
Myers claimed she incurred $15,845.97 in out-of-pocket medical expenses for the treatment of her injuries, and she estimated to have future lifetime costs of more than $350,000, records show.
“Plaintiff has established that, both as general partners and members of a single civil conspiracy, Moore and Fisher are jointly and severally liable for the full amount of compensatory damages awarded by the court,” DuBois wrote in the memorandum accompanying his order.
DuBois ended up awarding Myers close to $16,000 for her past medical expenses and more than $350,000 for future medical costs.
He also awarded her $750,000 for past and future noneconomic damages.
The judge ruled that punitive damages should only be assessed against Moore, who “refused to answer questions at his deposition regarding his use of illicit drugs on the date of the incident in question, [and] intentionally dove from an elevated stage despite knowing that stage diving in and of itself poses a serious risk of harm to audience members.”
“Moore continues to stage dive at almost every performance and exhibits nothing but apathy and hospitality towards his victims, whom he repeatedly characterized, during his deposition, as ‘predators’ out to steal his money,’” DuBois wrote.